Friday Night Sights at Sha Tin

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HKIS lot 19 | HKJC photo

By Alan Carasso

Originally a fixture of the International Races weekend, the annual Hong Kong International Sale was split for a time, offering the more progressive horses in December while giving others a chance to grow into their frames to be sold in March. The sale was consolidated into a single event on the eve of the Hong Kong Derby and for the first time, the auction will be staged under the lights in the Sha Tin parade ring Friday evening, giving it an air of elegance.

A total of 24 horses–23 geldings and one well-bred colt–will go under the hammer from 8 p.m. local time in the makeshift sales ring. One of the original entrants, a Darci Brahma (NZ) gelding catalogued as hip 11, has been withdrawn.

Rare is the animal that races in Hong Kong as an entire, but in hip 19, prospective buyers will have an opportunity to buy a high-quality horse with both serious pedigree appeal and relations to runners with a proven local track record. The bay, selected by the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Mark Richards for A$700,000 out of last year’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, is the half-brother to Wandjina (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), who belied odds of 7-1 to win the G1 Australian Guineas about a month prior to the sale. Hip 19’s half-brother Inspiraton (Aus) (Flying Spur {Aus}) upset the 2008 G1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint at a whopping 67-1, while another half-sister, the stakes-winning Provence (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), is the dam of local SW & GSP Admiration (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}).

Kildangan Stud’s Shamardal has become an important and increasingly popular sire in Hong Kong, having been represented by the likes of the now-injured Horse of the Year Able Friend (Aus) and Dan Excel (Ire), a two-time winner of the now-defunct G1 SAI Cup in Singapore. Shamardal’s 4-year-old grandsons Consort (Ire) and Hero Look (Ire)–both sons of Lope de Vega (Ire)–will take part in Sunday’s BMW Hong Kong Derby. Shamardal is represented by a single offering at Friday’s HKIS in the form of hip 14. Snapped up by HKJC representatives for €180,000 at the 2014 Arqana August Sale in Deauvile, the handsome bay is out of two-time Listed winner Nina Celebre (Ire) (Peintre Celebre), whose dam Next Gina (Ger) (Perugino) was the joint champion 3-year-old filly of her generation in Germany in 2003.

No sire is better represented Friday evening than Coolmore’s successful dual-hemisphere stallion Fastnet Rock (Aus), who has four horses on offer. Among them is hip 15, an NZ$400,000 purchase out of the 2014 NZB Premier Yearling Sale who hails from the family of Group 1 winners Cerulean Sky (Ire) and Moonstone (GB); and hip 3, a 180,000gns acquisition at Tattersalls October 2014, whose dam Tashara (Ire) (Intikhab) is a half-sister to top miler Excelebration (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}).

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